Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 12/9/13

The immortal

Martin Jones

. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

We are seven days from exactly one month since the New York Islanders last victory. Nine straight losses have completely deflated this hockey team and its fanbase before the end of 2013, which is both shocking and disappointing. Saturday night’s loss – the second time the Islanders have been shutout by a third-string goalie – was nothing new to Long Island’s hockey team this season, but I guess that’s not the kind of thing that makes up a good team, especially one that held playoff expectations two long months ago.

And while many of us have our opinions as to what deserves the most blame for this catastrophe – Jack Capuano, Garth Snow, Thomas Vanek, etc. – we have to temper the fire because, in reality, there is far more than just one party at fault.

Running down the list:

  • Special teams, the team’s bread and butter last season, is currently ranked 22nd (power play) and 30th (penalty kill) in the NHL.
  • Secondary scoring has been near nonexistent over the last 20 games. Michael Grabner hasn’t recorded a single point since October 17.
  • Defense. From its assembly to the players on the ice, the Isles blue-line has been a shell of it was last season, and that’s not necessarily a compliment to what we had last year either.
  • Three goaltenders have been used this season, and none have stepped up enough to make an impact.  Unfortunately, it has been tough to gauge any of the goalies fairly because of what’s in front of them; however, it’s the struggles at the position are struggling.

In case you missed it:

Around the NHL:

  • Minnesota Wild 3, San Jose Sharks 1: MIN (Parise [2], Koivu), SJS (Marleau) – The Sharks outshout the Wild 38-13, but Josh Harding did not allow a goal until there was 1:41 remaining in the game.
  • Washington Capitals 4, New York Rangers 1: WSH (Chimera, Oleksy, Grabovski, Schmidt), NYR (Pouliot) – Philip Grubauer made his 2nd NHL start, and did allow a goal until there was 1:53 left to play in the third. The Capitals scored two goals just twenty-five seconds apart in the second period to pull ahead 2-0.
  • Boston Bruins 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 2: BOS (Soderberg, Krug, Miller, Iginla, Bergeron), TOR (Holland, McClement) – The Bruins scored three unanswered goals in the second period, and Chad Johnson made 30 saves to earn their second win in as many nights.
  • Chicago Blackhawks 6, Florida Panthers 2: CHI (Sharp, Seabrook, Hossa, Handzus, Shaw, Saad), FLA (Olsen, Goc) – The Blackhawks received goals from six different players. Goaltender Corey Crawford left the game in the first period due to injury.
  • Vancouver Canucks 3, Colorado Avalanche 1: VAN (Santorelli [2], Kesler), COL (McGinn) – Roberto Luongo lost his shutout bid with fifty-two seconds remaining in the game, and the Canucks won their fourth straight game.

Across the Sound:

Yesterday was an off day for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and they don’t play until tomorrow, but the Islanders AHL-affiliate is currently on a four-game winning streak.

The success of the Islanders key prospects – Ryan Strome and Anders Lee, specifically – is encouraging for an organization that has struggled on offense. Whether or not either player gets called up to the NHL remains to be seen. The Islanders, however, could use the help.